Strength Training Builds More Than Muscles

April 17th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.

A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and inadequate nutrition conspire to gradually steal bone mass, at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.

Strength Training builds bones and confidence

Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. An estimated eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures each year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may become impossible.

Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge bone-forming cells into action. That stress comes from the tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength training (as well as weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking or running). The result is stronger, denser bones.

And strength training, in particular, has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts — particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance — enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures another way — by cutting down on falls.

by Harvard Medical School


5 Important Facts About Sarcopenia

March 11th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Sarcopenia is a relatively new term for the most insidious health crisis in the world. Sarcopenia is a disease that impacts all of us as we age. And there is only one known way to prevent it and treat it.

Here are the 5 most important things you need to know about Sarcopenia:

  1. Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to aging
    The functions of skeletal muscle include control of movement and posture; regulation of metabolism; storage of energy; acting as a primary source of amino acids for the brain and immune system; and acting as a substrate for malnutrition/starvation, injury/wound healing, and disease. Maintaining skeletal mass is critical not only for remaining physically independent but also for survival.
  2. Sarcopenia affects half of all older adults
    More than 18 million Americans suffer from sarcopenia. One in three adults over 60 have the disease, and that number increases to over 50 percent by the time they reach age 80.
  3. Muscle loss from Sarcopenia begins in our 30s
    Beginning in our 30s, every single human being on earth develops sarcopenia. Every year we get weaker and weaker unless we proactively work against the muscle loss. The erosion of strength accelerates in our 50s and continue to increase as we move into our 60s. By our mid-70s, there is an exponential increase in the loss of lean tissue.
  4. Sarcopenia can cause muscle weakness, frailty, and loss of independence
    The loss of strength that accompanies sarcopenia will dramatically impact your physical health. This loss of strength makes it hard to recover is we lose our balance. As we become weaker, we become more cautious and less physically active. When we are less active, we are weaker. The downward spiral continues.
  5. Strength training is the only treatment for Sarcopenia
    You can counteract this loss of muscle tissue with strength training, which will also have a positive effect on many other chronic diseases. We’re living longer. Strength is critically important to enjoying the extra four or five decades that we each have been given through medical science advances over the last century.

Strength training, as you age, is the recognized treatment for combating the devastating effects of sarcopenia.

Of all of these important facts, the last one is the most important. Medical scientists at Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, the Academy of Royal Colleges, and dozens more respected medical research institutions have all concluded that intense strength training is the only way to combat the downward spiral of physical health and loss of strength that Sarcopenia causes.

by StrongPath


Rev Up Your Metabolism

February 19th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

A recent article by Health.com (Jan/Feb 2019) has some great advice that I agree with as a personal trainer, here are the highlights.

Your muscles are in charge

A pound of muscle burns 7-10 calories/day compared to 1 lb of fat which burns only 2-3 calories/day. We all know that after you hit your 20’s, you lose muscle as you age. That muscle loss can slow your metabolism by 15% (your calorie burning power). While building new muscle can help counteract this trend, it is even more important to engage the muscle you already have. Every time you challenge your muscles by strength training, you burn calories by working out and continue to burn calories after you put your weights away.

Do 2 30-minute sessions of resistance training each week and in 3 months, your resting metabolism will be about 6% faster. When you exercise, focus on major muscle groups and do not shy away from heavy weights (60 – 75% of your maximum lift).

A lack of Protein can slow your metabolism

If you are not already on the protein bandwagon, get on board! Your body needs amino acids to stay functional. Without enough protein, your body will be forced to tap your muscles. When you lose valuable muscle, your resting metabolism slows.

Make sure you are putting protein in every meal and snack – starting your day with 15 grams (about 2 eggs) is a great idea. Don’t overlook whey, one of two proteins found in milk. Whey protein is rich in the amino acids muscles thirst for and can aid in recovery after workouts.

Dieting is the enemy

Any weight loss diet can leave your metabolism slower than when you started. We highly recommend a lifestyle diet of plants and proteins (no grains, sugar, highly processed foods or processed starches) and eat enough calories to satisfy your resting metabolism. The easiest way to do that is to multiply your body weight in lbs by 10.

Your metabolism likes sleep

Lack of sleep tends to slow your metabolism, in part because that’s when your body repairs itself (which burns calories). Sleep well, eat well and exercise hard for 2 30-minute sessions each week and your metabolism will thank you.


Strength Training Tied To Better Heart Health Than Aerobic

January 21st, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

A survey of 4,000 adults revealed that static activity, such as strength training, had stronger links to reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases than dynamic activity, such as walking and cycling.

The researchers point out, however, that any amount of either kind of exercise brings benefits, and that it is probably better to do both than to increase either.

Recommended amounts and type of exercise
According to the AHA, guidelines recommend that adults in the United States should be physically active for at least 150 minutes each week.

This activity should consist of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, or a combination. It is better to spread the exercise across the week than complete it all in 1 or 2 days.

The guidelines also advise doing exercise that strengthens the muscles, such as resistance or weight training. People should do this on at least 2 days per week.

Even greater benefits accrue from 300 minutes of exercise per week, says the AHA. They also recommend breaking up prolonged bouts of sitting — even getting up and doing some light activity is better than just sitting, they add.

National Institutes of Health (NIH), advises older adults to do four types of exercise:

  • Endurance, or aerobic, exercises that increase breathing and raise heart rate.
  • Strength, or resistance, exercises that strengthen major muscle groups in the upper and lower body and improve their function.
  • Balance exercises to reduce the risk of falls and the disabilities that they can cause.
  • Flexibility exercises that stretch the body and increase a person’s range of movement.

Aerobic activity includes walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, gardening and all forms of sports, such as golf, tennis, and volleyball.

Push-ups, static rowing, resistance training, dips, arm, and leg raises, and hand grips are all examples of strength-building exercises.

Practicing Tai Chi and yoga can improve balance and flexibility as can simple exercises that involve the use of the body or everyday objects, such as a chair.

Only around 1 in 5 adults and teens in the U.S. meet the recommended 150 minutes per week of “heart-pumping” activity. With this in mind, perhaps the more pressing message  is that clinicians should encourage people to “exercise regardless.”

Dr. Maia P. Smith


Ground Beef & Broccoli

January 16th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Healthy Ground Beef and Broccoli is a quick and easy skillet recipe that comes together in 15 minutes in just one pan!

Ingredients
• 1 pound lean, grass-fed ground beef
• 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon fresh minced or grated ginger (OR 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
• 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen broccoli florets
• 2 tablespoons arrowroot (replacement for cornstarch)
• 2 tablespoons cool water
• 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
• Riced cauliflower

Instructions
1. Set a large skillet, saute pan, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking apart and stirring as the meat cooks.

2. While the beef is cooking, combine the beef broth, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in a bowl or large measuring cup; set aside.

3. After the beef is cooked, push it to the edges of the pan, dump the garlic and ginger in the center, and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Drain the grease from the pan. Add the sauce and the broccoli to the pan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for several minutes (using the cooking time on the package of frozen broccoli as a guide) and stir occasionally until the broccoli is cooked to your desired tenderness.

4. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk the arrowroot/cornstarch into the water until dissolved. Slowly pour the arrowroot slurry into the pan while stirring the beef and broccoli. Bring to a boil and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Stir in the sesame oil, if using, and serve hot over cauliflower rice.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


DOMS: Reducing Inflammation Through Diet and Recover Quicker

November 5th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

You know that moment. You wake up a few days after a workout and think to yourself, “Ah, now I feel it.” The technical term for this post-workout evidence of hard effort is delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.

 

DOMS happens when you work your muscles harder
than they are used to working. 

That’s the simple explanation, but on a biological level, there’s a lot more going on. When we work our bodies harder than they are used to, the response is inflammation. The next natural step is an immune response. When our bodies can’t deal with exercise-induced muscle damage, we experience DOMS. While the exact mechanisms are not well understood, DOMS appears to be a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.

Smart recovery can prevent DOMS from derailing your training.

  • The best recovery foods to eat after an intense workout are raw, organic whole foods containing healthy amounts of carbs and protein
  • Some of the specific foods shown to soothe muscle soreness include bananas, cacao, coffee, eggs, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, and watermelon, as well as spices like cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric
  • Two substances you should avoid combining with exercise are alcohol and sugar, both of which cause inflammation

Muscle: The Organ of Longevity, a Broken Brain Podcast

August 22nd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

We use our muscles every day, from our brain to our quads, for the smallest and the biggest tasks. Muscles make up an impressive 45% of our body mass. Did you know that muscle is an endocrine organ and regulates metabolism? Did you know that using your muscles can actually help reduce systemic inflammation?

Today on The Broken Brain Podcast, Functional Medicine practitioner Dr. Gabrielle Lyon joins our host, Dhru Purohit, to talk about muscles and optimizing our body composition by eating protein, strength training, and more. Dr. Lyon specializes in muscle-centric medicine and works with her patients to fine-tune metabolism, balance hormones, and transform body composition.

If you want to learn all about protein, and what it can do for your muscles, how it can increase your energy, and increase your longevity, I hope you’ll tune in to our podcast.

In this episode, we dive into:

Muscle: The organ of longevity (2:18)
Obesogenic sarcopenia—what does that mean? (5:08)
Brain and muscle health in the aging (8:13)
Importance of maintaining muscle (10:18)
Everything you need to know about protein (13:21)
Sources of protein (15:58)
Plant-based protein (18:04)
Dr. Lyon’s personal daily diet (20:18)
Aging healthfully (25:26)
Building muscle—where to start? (27:51)
How do I prioritize protein correctly in my daily diet? (32:55)
Dr. Lyon’s favorite protein supplements (36:06)
How can the right protein change my life? (37:43)

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD


The Best Workout Ever, According to Science

August 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

It seems like every other week there is a new study touting the best way to work out.

Since my clients are reading these, I like to check them out too. Imagine my smile when I read a “top 10” article and found that several of our “DBM” moves were included.

1. Dumbbell Front Squats
Set your feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart. Holding dumbbells above your shoulders, elbows bent and close to your sides, inhale as you sit back deeply while keeping your chest high, into a squat. Exhale and press the floor away to come back to stand.

2. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
Start with the dumbbells in your hands, fingers facing forward, just above your shoulders by your ears. Soften your knees. Inhale, then exhale as you press the ‘bells above your head, together but not touching. Resist the weight as you bring them back down.

3. Bentover Rows
Begin bending down by sending your hips back so your torso is hinged at the waist; lightly bend your knees. Let the weights hang in front of your legs, fingers facing them, but don’t allow your shoulders to droop forward. Inhale, then exhale as you row the barbell up, pulling your shoulder blades together at the top. Slowly lower it back to start.

4. Dumbbell Squats 
With dumbbells on your shoulders, squat slowly to the floor. Exhale as you push up to standing. Repeat, slowly down, pushing up and breathing throughout.

6. Wide-Grip Pull-ups (assisted if needed)
On a bar or assisted pullup machine, place your hands so they are each 6-8 inches beyond your shoulder width, fingers facing away from you. Inhale, then exhale as you pull your body up, chin above the bar. Inhale as you lower down with control.

Read the complete Men’s Journal article here


Why strength training is important for all student athletes

August 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Strength training has become such an integral part of an athlete’s training regimen over the past several decades that you would assume it is universally accepted as standard operating procedure.

However, there still appears to be a fairly large contingent of well-meaning coaches who are recipients of push-back regarding strength training’s efficacy and overall benefits. Whether the concerns stem from uninformed parents/guardians, misguided coaches or athletic directors, or antiquated gender stereotyping and misconceptions, strength training still receives a bad rap in some small, restricted circles.

If you are a strength training advocate, and facing the friction of any of the scenarios mentioned above, here are some evidence-based, documented, tried-and-true facts on why strength training should be a mainstay for all athletes — male and female — in every sport.

Think of them as the “magnificent seven” reasons to strength train.

1. It helps reduce the incidence or severity of injury
2. Improvements in overall flexibility
3. Healthy, efficient body composition
4. Increased resting metabolism
5. Packing the power
6. Increased bone mineral density
7. Improved glucose metabolism

Strength training is, unquestionably, one of the most effective avenues available to us for enhancing numerous aspects of physical health and performance-related variables. In addition to the positive physical outcomes mentioned, there also is evidence of mental health benefits including decreased symptoms of depression, increased self-esteem and self-concept, and improved cognitive capabilities.

With all of those key ingredients to athletic success and an improved quality of life in place, the case for engaging in a safely administered, comprehensive, year-round, progressive strength training program is on rock-solid footing.

Read the complete article by Ken Mannie here.


The Hidden Mental and Physical Benefits of Exercise

July 26th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

As You Work Out…
Your lungs are getting stronger. When you do cardio, your brain sends signals to them to help you breathe faster and deeper, delivering extra oxygen to your muscles.

Your motivation is at its peak. Thanks to a flood of endorphins, which trigger the classic runner’s high, you feel psyched and energized.

You’re fighting flab. During typical cardio exercise, your body taps mainly fat for fuel.

FIT TIP: Push yourself to go harder. The more intensely you do aerobic activity and the longer you do it, the more efficiently your body uses oxygen, and this boosts its fat-blasting power throughout your workout.

Within One Hour of Exercise…
You’re protecting yourself against colds, flu, you name it. Exercise elevates your level of immunoglobulins, which are proteins that help bolster your immune system and ward off infection. “Every sweat session you do can help strengthen your immune function for about 24 hours,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise.

You’re feeling zen. Mood-enhancing chemicals, like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, flood your brain for a couple of hours post-exercise and for up to a day if you’ve competed in an endurance event, like a marathon. Stress? What stress?

You’re blasting calories, even at rest. For every 100 calories, you burn during your workout, you can expect to burn 15 calories after.

FIT TIP: To turbo-charge your calorie-incinerating quotient, strength-train at least twice a week. It will charge your metabolism so that you’ll continue to burn calories for up to 38 hours, according to a study from Ohio University in Athens.

Post-Workout Benefits

Within One Day of Exercise…
You’re adding lean muscle. If you did a strength-training routine, your muscles are now starting to rebuild themselves and repair the microscopic tears that come with lifting weights. Preliminary research shows that women respond to and recover from resistance training faster than men.

Your heart is healthier. One sweat session lowers your blood pressure for up to 16 hours.

FIT TIP: A vigorous workout is especially heart smart.

You’re a quick study. You’re super alert and focused post-exercise. That’s because a good workout increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.

Within One Week of Regular Exercise…
Your risk of diabetes goes down. The more you work out, the greater your sensitivity to insulin. That, in turn, lowers your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Your VO2 max, a measure of your endurance and aerobic fitness, has already increased by about 5 percent.  You can go a little harder and longer than you could before.

FIT TIP: Step up your routine and your results will be even better. Plus, you can burn more belly fat by doing intervals rather than keeping a steady pace.

You’re slimmer. Cutting 500 calories a day through exercise and diet will help you drop one pound a week.

Long-Term Benefits of Exercise
You’re getting stronger. Those fifteen-pound weights don’t feel quite as heavy, because your muscular endurance is starting to increase. Ten reps is no longer a struggle.

You’re blasting belly fat. After four weeks of regular workouts, your body is ditching flab and gaining muscle. Overweight people who took part in a four-week program of moderate aerobic exercise in an Australian study reduced ab fat by 12 percent.

FIT TIP: To trim your tummy, do fewer crunches and more planks: Begin on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips, then lower forearms to floor and extend legs straight behind you, balancing on toes. Keeping abs engaged and back flat, butt slightly raised, hold for 30 seconds; do 10 reps three or four times a week.

You’ve got more brainpower. Working out activates growth-stimulating proteins in the brain that may help form new cells there.

FIT TIP: The more challenging your workout, the stronger your mental muscle. Aim for 30 minutes of vigorous cardio at least three days a week.

Within One Year of Regular Exercise…
Working out is way easier. “Your endurance and aerobic fitness can increase by up to 25 percent after eight to 12 weeks of regular training,” Gordon says. “In a year your endurance can more than double.”

Your heart rate is lower. Thanks to regular workouts, your heart is pumping more efficiently. For instance, if your initial resting heart rate was 80 beats a minute, it will have dropped to 70 or lower. The less work your heart has to do, the healthier you’ll be.

You’re a fat-melting machine. Your cells are now superefficient at breaking down fat and using it as fuel. That means you’re zapping more flab 24-7.

You’ve cut your cancer risk. In a study of more than 14,800 women, those who had the highest levels of aerobic fitness were 55 percent less likely to die from breast cancer than those who were sedentary. Women considered moderately fit had about a 33 percent lower risk of developing the disease. Exercise may also help protect against endometrial, lung, and ovarian cancer, researchers say.

You’re adding years to your life.
Fitness buffs have better telomeres, the DNA that bookends our chromosomes and protects them from damage, which can slow the aging process, studies show.

You feel fantastic. Just four months of exercise is as good as prescription meds at boosting mood and reducing depression, according to a study at Duke University. Keep it up and not only will your life be longer, it will be happier, too!

Courtesy of Fitness Magazine